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Nicolas Maduro Venezuela opposition lawmakers say police attacked them at demo

Venezuelan opposition lawmakers said they were struck and shoved into a ditch by police who broke up an anti-government protest on Monday.

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Clashes between police and protestors who are demanding elections to replace President Nicolas Maduro have been going on for two months play

Clashes between police and protestors who are demanding elections to replace President Nicolas Maduro have been going on for two months

(AFP)

Venezuelan opposition lawmakers said they were struck and shoved into a ditch by police who broke up an anti-government protest on Monday.

"A national guard struck my companion (lawmaker) Miguel Pizarro and threw me into that ditch. Those guards went crazy," deputy Juan Requesens told reporters at the scene of the incident on a highway in eastern Caracas.

It was the latest in more than two months of clashes between police and protestors who are demanding elections to replace President Nicolas Maduro.

Public prosecutors say 65 people have been killed in the unrest since early April.

Pizarro and Requesens are lawmakers of the center-right Justice First party, part of an opposition coalition campaigning against the socialist president.

Pizarro said they were assaulted by riot police when they joined a group of protestors who were trying to occupy the Francisco Fajardo highway.

"They surrounded us when we were coming on to the highway. They punched me in the mouth, they hit me with a shield and fired tear gas," Pizarro told reporters.

"Do not let this violence deter us. We will not surrender."

Riot police broke up groups of demonstrators who gathered at various points in the city aiming to converge on the highway.

Some of the demonstrators shouted "Freedom, freedom," and "We want food."

Opposition activists hold a banner reading, "The Strength is the Union" as they demonstrate against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas play

Opposition activists hold a banner reading, "The Strength is the Union" as they demonstrate against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas

(AFP)

The opposition blames Maduro for severe food and medicine shortages in the oil-rich nation.

Protestors have been clashing daily with riot police. They accuse the authorities of repressing them, while Maduro brands them insurgents and terrorists.

He says the crisis is a US-backed conspiracy.

Elected in 2013, Maduro has launched moves to reform the constitution in response to the protests, but his opponents say the move is merely a ploy to strengthen his hold on power.

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